On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- South African technology firm Datatec expects to post first-half headline earnings per share of 11-12 U.S. cents, compared with 0.1 cents in the year-ago period, the company said on Tuesday. Datatec said in a statement it expected attributable earnings per share in the six months to end August to fall to between 9 and 10 U.S. cents compared with 39.98 U.S. cents previously, when profits were inflated by a one-off gain linked to a disposal. Headline earnings - the main measure of profitability in South Africa - strip out capital, non-trading and certain one-off items. Datatec has slashed a third of its workforce to recover from two years of losses and is now on the prowl for acquisitions to bolster its business in the United States and Europe. The company said its overall financial performance improved in the six-month period on a sequential and year-ago basis and said trading in all its major business units improved. Datatec expects to release interim results on October 26. Shares in Datatec edged up 0.63 percent to 17.39 rand on Tuesday, slightly ahead of the all-share index.

- Spain's Telefonica has applied to take part in the purchase of Tunisia's 35 percent stake in Tunisie Telecom, a senior source at Telefonica said on Wednesday. Tunisian officials said last week 14 Middle Eastern and European telecoms operators were lining up in an auction battle for the stake. Tunisia has said it hopes to take in as much as $1.7 billion. "This is a very early stage. We've submitted our application alone, although if we are short-listed we may join forces with Portugal Telecom", the source told Reuters. Telefonica already operates in North Africa via Meditel, a joint-venture with PT. Amongst companies interested in Tunisie Telecom are Etisalat , the main operator in the United Arab Emirates, and another smaller rival. Industry sources have named Bahrain Telecommunications (Batelco) and operators in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, as well as France Telecom and Telecom Italia. Vivendi Universal and Bouygues Telecom have also expressed interest.